Working life: Child Health Programme development officer Brenda Mellett

Working life: Child Health Programme development officer Brenda Mellett

Brenda Mellett, Child Health Programme development officer, Midwest Community Healthcare

6.30am I like an early morning breakfast as I prepare for the day ahead. I live in Ballyneety, Co Limerick, so it’s just a 10-minute commute by car to work at the Southill Health Centre.

8.30am Responding to emails and phone queries from GPs, hospital and public-health colleagues is my first task, before I head into a conference call with my seven colleagues around the country.

10am We discuss our progress in improving child-health services. Our service covers immunisation, screening and child health reviews. It is being updated with new evidence and supports to improve child health outcomes.

In my area that will affect more than 30,000 children aged under five, helping them to develop, be healthier, more active, more resilient and less likely to have health problems.

The objective is that no matter when you live, all children will have access to the same quality service from public health nurses, midwives, GPs, practice nurses and community medical doctors.

Our big focus is on giving every child the best start in life.

12.30pm Lunch is brief and reasonably healthy.

1.30pm In Ennis Health Centre I meet public health nurses and community medical doctors about resources that help them deliver a quality service. I come armed with materials for mychild.ie. This is a new set of books and a website designed by the HSE as a one-stop-shop where parents can get accurate and trusted information on pregnancy, through the first five years of their child’s life.

They were developed in consultation with parents and child-development experts and are based on the most up-to-date advice in the health service. The nurses and doctors are delighted to have this evidence-based resource to give to parents.

4pm Back in Limerick, I follow up on uptake of breastfeeding supports with a local community group.

I also review a draft of a new national child health record. We are aiming to be e-health ready in the future.

5pm Home to have dinner with family including husband Shane, son Liam, 15, and daughters Anna, 13 and Orla, nine. There is lively discussion around the naming of a new pup.

- Visit mychild.ie for more information

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